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Mortgage apps fall

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage applications in the U.S. fell for the third time in four weeks, as refinancing dropped to the lowest level since the start of the year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) index decreased 1.2 percent in the period ended March 28 after a 3.5 percent decline the week before, the Washington-based group said Wednesday.

The refinancing gauge fell 2.9 percent to the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 3, while the measure of purchase applications rose 0.9 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan held at 4.56 percent and the average on a 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.62 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance declined to 52.8 percent, the lowest since April 2010, from 53.8 percent the prior week, Wednesday’s report showed.

The measure has declined for eight straight weeks.

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